England Under-17 coach Steve Cooper has urged the Chesterfield public to get behind the Young Lions when they kick-off the forthcoming UEFA European Under-17 Championship at the Proact Stadium.
The opening ceremony will be staged at the home of the Spireites before England’s game against Israel on Friday, May 4 (7pm).
Cooper said: “We’ve played at Chesterfield a few times and had some brilliant occasions - as recently as November when we played Portugal - and we’ve always had a great atmosphere with good crowds. It’s a good pitch and a fantastic stadium.
“Come and see a big competition on home soil. We want people to turn up to see a hard working, attractive England team. You’ll see some really good football being played."
England will also face Italy and Switzerland in group matches at Walsall and Rotherham respectively.
Cooper acknowledges the high level of competition but insists his young charges will be fully prepared. He said: “We’ve got three really tough games, there’s no doubt about that and we’re working really hard now to get the right plans in place.
“Israel are a very good team and we need to be ready. If we get it right, we think we can beat any opposition.”
As well as wanting to do well in the tournament, Cooper also acknowledges the importance of the Young Lions as role models. “The players will be very aware of who they’re representing and what they might be able to inspire,” he said.
“If that means getting young children - male and female - to go and start playing football and be as active as they can in life, that can only be a good thing.”
Tickets for England’s game against Israel are priced at £5 for adults and £2.50 for concessions. Visit www.TheFA.com/U17Euro for tickets and further information. Tickets will also be available to purchase at the stadium on the day.
The Proact will also host the following group matches: Slovenia v Portugal on Monday, May 7 (3pm) and Belgium v Denmark on Friday, May 11 (1pm). There will be a quarter-final tie at the Proact on Monday, May 14 (7pm) and a semi-final match on Thursday, May 17 (7pm).